Today I had the opportunity to visit one of the children in their home. I was driven 60 km out of Chengde into a rural farming area to visit Zhang Ru. Zhang had a cleft lip repaired and rhinoplasty (nose surgery) on October 31. On November 4th his mother presented the Rotaplast team with a banner (see yesterday’s blog post) to thank the team for helping her son.
The area where Zhang and his family live is sustenance farming. Most of the people in the area are living in poverty. Zhang’s home is heated with dried corn husks, stocks, tree branches and bits of wood. His mother sells vegetables and apples grown on the plot of land. His father works at odd jobs when available. The main room of the house is wall papered with pages from old books and newspapers. The kitchen is black from the cooking stove. Zhang travels 40 km to high school. He comes home from school once a month. The family must pay for his education.
The family was extremely grateful for the work done by Rotary and Rotaplast. I was given a bag of apples and pears to share with the Rotaplast team as a thank you gift. Seeing how Zhang and his family live convinced me more than anything that we are offering surgery to the right children and teens. Without Rotaplast they would never be treated.
By the end of today the team completed 81 operations and many more procedures as some children have more than one operation. The team has settled into an 11 hour day. We start at 7:00 am and finish at 6:00 pm. One surgeon and a pediatrician visit the ward later in the evening to check on the children operated on during the day.